Head of School Update, March 11: Addressing Parent Feedback

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Dear SSIS Parents, 

In my most recent correspondence to you, I shared a few important adjustments to the school calendar that have been made to maximize face-to-face time with teachers when your children return to school. Today, I would like to provide you with information about the feedback we received in the Virtual School survey that parents completed last week, and some changes we have made as a result of this and other feedback.

Overall, our community’s feedback was very positive and supportive. You appreciate the efforts of the teachers to deliver a high-quality curriculum to your children as they attend school in our virtual environment, commenting that “students are developing new skills through this experience.” You also recognize that our exceptional teachers can deliver an excellent program irrespective of the location or media. 

However, you also provided valuable feedback to us on adjustments we can make to Virtual School, to make it even better. 

Below you will find a summary from each division on some of the things that we have done to address parent feedback.

Elementary School – the majority of parents feel there is a good balance of independent work for the elementary students, as well as the directions and the instructions from the teachers. Your direct feedback allowed us to develop worksheet packets, to additionally support you in instructing younger students. Your recent feedback also helped us ensure that we had teachers develop online face-to-face interaction with students, individually or in small group settings. And now, more than half of the parents feel that there is a good balance in interaction with classroom teachers, who have recently established 

Middle School – although overall, the majority of middle school parents are happy with the amount of interaction between teachers and classmates, some parents and students feel that their children need additional support. As a result, Middle School has established daily Google Meet sessions to review content and instructions and address questions. Daily individual feedback on assignments will additionally help students balance their work. Just as importantly, the middle school weekly check-in survey identifies social-emotional needs, as well as academic needs. Other strategies to ensure that students do not fall behind include reteaching, adjusted pacing based on student feedback, and notifying parents of students missing more than seven assignments. 

High School – the majority of parents of high school students, feel that overall the workload is well-balanced. Some parents, however, have expressed that the workload is too heavy. Teachers, counselors, and administrators are emailing and calling students that seem to be struggling and are also making adjustments to the length and quantity of certain assignments and tasks. The user interface of each teacher’s PSL (Powerschool Learning) landing page is now identical, to make it easier for parents and students to track assignments. Advisory teachers are regularly checking with students to support their social-emotional well-being. 

In addition to the valuable feedback provided to us through the survey, I was able to hear first-hand from PTA representatives, whom I met with off-campus earlier this week, the primary concern of parents at this time: students’ lack of social interaction with other children. That is why I wish to emphasize how important social interaction is for your child’s well-being and academic performance. Meeting in small groups, preferably outdoors to play or read together, is one way to ensure that your child has face-to-face time with friends. 

We recognize the difficulties the extended school closure has presented for our community. There is nothing more we would like than to have students back on campus. However, we must follow the guidelines determined by the Vietnamese government as they work to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Vietnam.

Also, for those parents who have inquired, we wish to inform you that SSIS is planning on holding Summer School as usual, for four weeks. The dates will be from Monday, June 8 –  Friday, July 3, a full-day program. More information will be sent out next week.

Finally, I want to thank you for being such a supportive community, and for your contributions, as we continue delivering the highest-quality virtual school experience. 

All best wishes,

Dr. Catriona Moran
Head of School <